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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Minutes of the Bladen, Brunswick, Duplin, and Wilmington-New Hanover County Committees of Safety
Wilmington (N.C.). Committee of Safety
May 20, 1775 - May 21, 1775
Volume 10, Pages 24-29

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[From MS. Records in Office of Secretary of State.]
Proceedings of the Safety Committees for the District of Wilmington.

At a general meeting of the several committees of the District of Wilmington held at the Court House in Wilmington, Tuesday the 20th of June, 1775.

For the County of New Hanover—Present: Cornelius Harnett, Francis Clayton, George Moore, sen., Jno. Ashe, Jno. Quince, Wm. Ewins, James Walker, James Blythe, John Devane, Wm. Jones, Long Creek, Wm. Jones, W. T., John Ancrum, James Moore, Rob't Hogg, Alexander Lillington, Wm. Robeson, Sam. Swann, Fred. Jones, sr., Jno. Colvin, Jno. Hollingsworth, Sam. Ashe, Geo. Merrick, And'w Ronaldson, Arch'd Maclaine, James Wright, Jno. Marshall, Sampson Moseley, Tho. Devane.

For the County of Brunswick—Rich'd Quince, ser., Rob't Howe, Thos. Davis, Rob't Ellis, Rich'd Quince, jr., Parker Quince, Wm. Lord, Wm. Cains, Tho. Allen, Step. Daniel, Wm. Davis, James Bell.

For Bladen County—Nath'l Richardson, Thos. Owens, Walter Gibson, Thos. Brown, Faithful Graham.

For Duplin—Charles Ward.

The Committee having met agreeable to summons, they proceeded to choose a Chairman; accordingly Richard Quince, Sr. was unanimously chosen.

A letter from the Committee of Cross Creek was read, and an answer was ordered to be wrote by the Chairman to the said letter.

The Governor's Proclamation, dated at Fort Johnston, the 16th inst. was ordered to be read.

On motion, Ordered that a committee be appointed to answer the said Proclamation; and that Robt. Howe, Arch. McLaine, and Samuel Ashe, be a committee for that purpose.

On motion, for leave to —— Elletson to import his house servants from Jamaica, not exceeding six in number.

It was carried against the motion, by a great majority.

The Committee then adjourned to 10 o'clock to-morrow.

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Wednesday, 10 o'clock.

The committee met according to adjournment.

On motion, ordered, That Cornelius Harnett be appointed to write to the committee of Cumberland County, to secure the Gunpowder that may be in that county, for the use of the public:

On motion, For the more effectually disarming and keeping the negroes in order, within the County of New Hanover,

It was, unanimously agreed, by the members of the committee, for said county, to appoint Patrols to search for, and take from Negroes, all kinds of arms whatsoever, and such guns or other arms found with the Negroes, shall be delivered to the Captain of the company of the District in which they are found—to be distributed by the said officers, to those of his company who may be in want of arms, and who are not able to purchase: and that the following persons be Patrols, as follows:

From Beauford's Ferry, to the end of Geo. Moore's District—Sam'l Swann, Thos. Mosely, Geo. Palmer, Henry Beauford, Wm. Robeson, Luke Woodward.

Burgaw—Sampson Moseley, William Moseley, Jno. Ashe, jr.

Black River—Geo. Robeson, Thos. Devane, Jno. Colvin, Thos. Corbit, jr., Benjamin Robeson, James Bloodworth.

Welch Tract—Barnaby Fuller, Geo. McGowan, Wm. Wright, Martin Wells, Morgan Swinney, David Jones.

Beatty's Swamp, to Perry's Creek—Elisha Atkinson, Bishop Swann, Aaron Erskins, Peter McClammy, Jno. Watkins, Edmond Moore, Jno. Lucas.

Perry's Creek to Baldhead—James Middleton, Charles Morris, Jno. Nichols, Samuel Marshall, Joseph Nichols, James Ewing, George Stundere, Jas. Jones.

Long Creek—Wm. Jones, James Ratcliff, John Kenner, Thos. Bloodworth, Wm. Hennepy, Jno. Marshall.

Holly Shelter—Thos. Jones, Edward Doty, Henry Williams, Thos. Simmons, Jno. Simmons, Joshua Sutton.

Resolved, That the following Association, formerly agreed by the Committee of New Hanover county, stand as the Association of this Committee, and that it be recommended to the inhabitants of this District, to sign the same, as speedily as possible, and that the same, with this Resolution, be printed in the public Newspaper.

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Unanimously agreed to, by the inhabitants of New Hanover County, in North Carolina, 19th June, 1775.

The actual commencement of Hostilities against this Continent by the British Troops, in the bloody scene, on the 19th April last, near Boston: The increase of arbitrary impositions from a wicked and despotic ministry; and the dread of instigated insurrections in the colonies, are causes sufficient to drive an oppressed people to the use of arms. We, therefore, the subscribers, inhabitants of New Hanover County, having ourselves bound by the most sacred of all obligations, the duty of good citizens towards an injured country; and, thoroughly convinced that, under our present distressed circumstances, we shall be justified, before God and Man, in resisting force by force: Do unite ourselves under every tie of religion and honor and associate as a band in her defence against every foe; hereby solemnly engaging that whenever our Continental or Provincial Councils shall decree it necessary we will go forth and be ready to sacrifice our lives and fortunes to secure her freedom and safety. This obligation to continue in full force until a reconciliation shall take place between Great Britain and America, upon constitutional principles, an event we most ardently desire and we will hold all those persons inimical to the liberties of the Colonies, who shall refuse to subscribe this Association. And we will in all things, follow the advice of our Committee, respecting the purposes aforesaid, the preservation of peace and good order, and the safety of individuals and private property.

The Committee appointed to answer the Governor's Proclamation, of the 16th inst., returned the following answer, which was read and ordered to be printed in the public papers and in hand bills.

At a General meeting of the several committees of the District of Wilmington, held at the Court-house, in Wilmington, Tuesday, 20th June, 1775.

Whereas, his Excellency, Josiah Martin, Esq., hath by Proclamation, dated at Fort Johnston, the 16th day of June, 1775, and read this day in the committee, endeavored to persuade, seduce, and intimidate the good people of the province, from taking measures to preserve those rights, and that liberty, to which, as the subjects of a British King, they have the most undoubted claim, without which, life would be but futile considerations, and which therefore,

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it is a duty they owe to themselves, their Country, and posterity, by every effort, and at every risk, to maintain, support, and defend against any invasion or encroachment whatsoever.

And whereas, many unconstitutional and oppressive acts of Parliament, invasive of every right and privilege, and dangerous to the freedom of America, have laid the people of this colony under the fatal necessity of appointing committees for the several Districts, Towns, and Counties of this province, who were instructed, carefully to guard against every encroachment upon their invaluable rights, and steadily oppose the operation of those unconstitutional acts, framed by a wicked administration entirely to destroy the freedom of America: and as among other measures, those committees found it absolutely necessary, either by themselves, or by persons appointed under them, to visit the people and fully to explain to them the nature and dangerous tendency of those acts, which the Tools of administration, were by every base art, endeavoring to prevail upon them to submit to: and as his Excellency has endeavored by his Proclamation, to weaken the influence, and prejudice the characters of those Committees, and the persons appointed under them, by wantonly, cruelly, and unjustly, representing them as ill-disposed people, propagating false and scandalous reports, derogatory to the honor and justice of the King; and also, by other illiberal and scandalous imputations expressed in the said Proclamation: We, then, the Committees of the counties of New Hanover, Brunswick, Bladen, Duplin and Onslow, in order to prevent the pernicious influence of the said Proclamation, do, unanimously, resolve, that in our opinion, his Excellency Josiah Martin, Esq, hath by the said Proclamation, and by the whole tenor of his conduct, since the unhappy disputes between Great Britain and the colonies, discovered himself to be an enemy to the happiness of this colony in particular, and to the freedom, rights and privileges of America in general.

Resolved, nem. con. That the said proclamation contains many things asserted to be facts, which are entirely without foundation; particularly the methods said to have been made use of, in order to compel the people to sign an Association against any invasion, intestine insurrection, or unjust encroachments upon their rights and privileges; no person having signed such Association but from the fullest conviction that it was essentially necessary to their freedom and safety; and that if his Excellency founded such assertions

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upon information, it must have been derived from persons too weak or wicked to have any claim to his credit or attention.

Resolved, nem. con. That it is the opinion of this Committee, that America owes much of its present sufferings to the information given by Governors and men in office, to administration, who having themselves adopted belief from improper informants, or, in order to sacrifice to the pleasure of the ministry, have falsely represented, that His Majesty's American subjects were not generally averse from the arbitrary proceedings of a wicked administration, but that the opposition, made to such unconstitutional measures, arose from the influence of a few individuals upon the minds of the people, whom they have not failed to represent as “false, seditious, and abandoned men;” by these means, inducing the ministry to believe, that the Americans would be easily brought to submit to the cruel impositions so wickedly intended for them; that his Excellency's proclamation is evidently calculated for this purpose, and is also replete with the most illiberal abuse and scandalous imputations, tending to defame the characters of many respectable persons, who zealously attached to the liberty of their country, were pursuing every laudable method to support it.

Resolved, nem. con. That the resolution respecting America, introduced by Lord North, into the British House of Parliament, which his Excellency, in his proclamation, alludes to, is such a glaring affront to the common sense of the Americans, that it added insult to the injury it intended them: That Lord North, himself, when he introduced it, declared to the House, that he did not believe America would accept of it, but that it might possibly tend to divide them, and if it broke one link in their chain of Union, it would render the enforcing his truly detestable acts the more easy; therefore,

Resolved, That this was a low, base, flagitious, wicked attempt to entrap America into Slavery, and which they ought to reject with the contempt it deserves; that the uncandid and insiduous manner in which his Excellency has mentioned the said resolution, is a poor artifice to seduce, mislead, and betray the ignorant and incautious into ruin and destruction, by inducing them to forfeit the inestimable blessings of freedom, with which nature and the British Constitution have so happily invested them; and also, indisputably proves, that his Excellency is ready to become an instrument in the hands of administration to rivet those chains so wickedly forged for America.

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Resolved, nem. con. That at this alarming crisis, when the dearest rights, and privileges of America are at stake, no confidence ought to be reposed in those, whose interest is to carry into execution every measure of administration, however profligate and abandoned; and who though they are conscious those measures will not bear the test of enquiry and examination, will and endeavour to gloss over the most palpable violation of truth with plausibility, hoping, thereby, to blind, mislead and delude the people; that this Committee therefore, earnestly recommend it to the other committees of this province, and likewise to all our Brethren and suffering fellow subjects thereof, cautiously to guard against all those endeavours, which have been, or shall be made to deceive them, and to treat such attempts as wicked efforts of the Tools of Government calculated to throw this Country into confusion, and by dividing to enslave it.

The committee adjourned till a meeting occasionally.

Account of money received, at this committee:

£ s. d.
From Bladen county, by the hands of Mr. Richardson, in good bills
One Bill counterfeit of
From Cornelius Harnett, for sundry subscriptions to purchase gunpowder
From Wm. Jones, L. C. by the hand of R. Hogg for do
do. Jno. Slingsby do
do. Doct. Cobham do
do. R'd Bradley do

Money paid for Sundries:

Paid 350 ℔s. Gunpowder in the hands of Burgwin, Humphrey & Co. pr. Rec't
P'd Jno. Slingsby for 50 ℔s. Gunpowder in his hands
P'd Wm. Grant to pay for cleaning out the court-house